WASHINGTON – Rep. Robert Ehrlich Jr. is traveling this month to Hong Kong and China in a trip designed to improve relations and spur trade between China and the United States.
Ehrlich, R-Timonium, and 21 other congressmen left Washington Jan. 8 and will return Jan. 18.
The delegation is scheduled to meet business leaders and high-ranking officials in China, including President Jiang Zemin. In Hong Kong, congressmen will talk to the consul general, businessmen and human rights advocates.
Ehrlich, who has worked on international banking issues in Congress, is interested in Chinese-U.S relations, as well as human rights violations, copyright and trade deficit issues, said his chief of staff, Steven L. Kreseski. Ehrlich now serves on the House Budget Committee and the Banking and Financial Services Committee.
The trip was approved by House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and is funded with taxpayers’ money. The cost of the trip could not be determined.
Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., is heading the delegation, made of 11 Democrats and 11 Republicans.
The representatives arrived Friday in Hong Kong, which will return to China’s control July 1.
Then, the representatives will go to Beijing, Shanghai and Xian, according to Kolbe’s office.
Several spouses are traveling with the delegation, including Ehrlich’s wife, Kendel.